The Washington Post article entitled, “Punishment and the Stanford sexual assault case,” discussed how the punishment was decided for the offender, Brock Turner.
The article noted the Stanford student athlete was caught assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster while he was intoxicated. Two classmates saw the scene and called the campus police in. From there, the case went to trial.
Turner faced the jury as a first-time-offender. Many believe that this is the reason Judge Persky gave him six months in jail with three years probation.
The article noted the California law that rape and similar acts (that were committed in this case) were punishable with state prison terms up to 13 years.
The article seemed to try to justify Brock Turner serving a minor sentence that didn’t match up to his crimes committed, whatsoever. This led me to ask myself, why do people commit these heinous acts without fear of getting punished?
Plato’s “Ring of Gyges,” says that if you can get away with doing harm onto others without facing retribution that most people will do it. The Stanford Rape Case is a great contemporary version of Plato’s theory.
“For wherever anyone thinks that he can safely be unjust, there he is unjust (Ethics Across the Professions, 59).” Brock Turner would never have risked his athletic career, Stanford education or future if he thought he wouldn’t have gotten away with his crime.
In my opinion it’s clear that Turner didn’t believe this would ever go to trial nor would it ever get beyond the dumpster. There are two reasons I think Turner would commit this crime believing that he would never face retribution.
The first one, colleges have a history of protecting their student athletes and an Ivy League school like Stanford would never want anything like this to leak to the public due to their outstanding reputation. Second, Brock Turner is a wealthy white male and in today’s society of white supremacist becoming an ongoing theme, why would the public or judicial system ever convict Brock Turner?
This leads me with one last question to answer, would Plato consider Turner’s sentence “getting away with it?”